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Enhancing Productivity in Latin America: from subsistence to transformational entrepreneurship


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Editor's note: The question and answer session has been removed from this podcast.

Speaker(s): Enrique Garcia, Dr Daniel E Ortega, Dr Alvaro Mendez
Chair: Professor Chris Alden

Recorded on 2 May 2014 in 32L G.04, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields.

The lecture will present the findings of CAF’s Economy and Development Report - RED 2013. Latin America’s low aggregate productivity growth is reflected in an overwhelming number of one-person enterprises and micro-businesses and a shortage of medium-sized and larger establishments capable of generating quality jobs and productivity gains. A lot of these small-scale enterprises stem from lack of other opportunities in the labour market and do not have the potential to become dynamic or transforming. Meanwhile, dynamic firms face external and internal restrictions to grow and to create enough high-quality jobs. The Economics and Development Report 2013 emphasizes the role of entrepreneurship—the creation of companies that generate sustained increases in employment and productivity—as a key factor to Latin America’s development. It does so in a comprehensive way, reviewing not only the potential impediments for high-skilled innovative entrepreneurs to realize their projects, but also the reasons why entrepreneurs with less potential opt for entrepreneurial activities instead of a salaried job. One of the report’s main messages is that these two phenomena –constrained growth for dynamic companies and abundance of subsistence enterprises—are closely linked; and recognizing this link is crucial to designing entrepreneurship policy. This policy also needs to adopt a multidimensional approach, integrating things like entrepreneurial talent, innovation fostering, financial access, and training.

Enrique García has been president and CEO of CAF (Development Bank of Latin America) since December 1991. He is the Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Latin America, Vice President of Canning House, Vice Chair of the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Dialogue, member of the Advisory Board of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, Harvard Kennedy School Dean ́s Council, the board of the Doña Maria de las Mercedes Foundation in Seville, among others.

Daniel E Ortega is senior economist and impact evaluation coordinator at the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF). Dr Ortega is also an adjunct professor at IESA Business School in Caracas. His research focuses on microeconomics of development, with emphasis on social experimentation and impact evaluation of public policies in different areas such as education, citizen security, sports for development and tax collection. His research has been published in refereed academic journals and has been part of the team producing CAF's flagship report since 2006. He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Maryland.

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